LDS Church updates safety guidelines for those on Church property during active attack

Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. File photo Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Oct. 11, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has updated its guidelines to help its leaders and members remain safe during an active attack while on Church property.

“Changing conditions around the world” are the impetus of this update, a church statement says.

“These guidelines are meant to help educate leaders and members on how to increase safety at Church buildings and activities,” says the letter, signed by Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his counselors, Bishop Dean M. Davies and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell.

“We invite leaders to discuss them in ward and stake councils and to use them to teach members, as needed, to address local concerns. Leaders should apply these guidelines appropriately and be aware of local laws.”

The guidelines were released Thursday, the day after a gunman attempted to enter a synagogue in Germany. Police say the gunman, identified as Stephan Balliet, was unable to gain entry, but fatally shot two people nearby, and has admitted his anti-Semitic beliefs were behind his actions.

The new guidelines direct Latter-day Saints to rely on local law enforcement in emergencies, but also shared guidelines to help people enhance their personal safety during armed-gunman incidents.

“These include being aware of one’s surroundings, staying calm, extending friendship and respect to every visitor, not being alone in a Church building and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost for guidance and safety,” the LDS Church statement says.

“The guidelines also help leaders respond better in moments when a worship service is being disrupted by an individual or group.”

The Church also shared its own version of guidelines that law enforcement specialists have endorsed for those caught in an active shooter situation. Read them below:

Leaders and members are instructed to run, hide or fight, depending on the circumstance:

Run. Flee immediately if a safe path is available. Move quickly to the safest exit and away from the building to a safe location. Exit quietly, without drawing the assailant’s attention. Adults are to ensure that all children are supervised and accounted for. Do not return to the building or to an office or classroom for personal items. Do not carry anything that could be mistaken for a weapon by responding law enforcement.

Hide. If you are unable to escape safely, hide out of sight of the assailant’s view. If possible, close, lock and barricade the doors to the classroom, office or other room where you are hiding. Turn out the lights, silence mobile phones, and keep low to the floor and away from windows. If there is an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the assailant, everyone in the building is to stay in their barricaded rooms until instructed otherwise by law enforcement.

Fight. As a last resort, if there is no time to run or hide, fight back against the assailant. Use anything available as a weapon, and fight to stop the assailant. If others are present, organize to defend yourselves.


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